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Results from Abbott's PROSPECT Study Provide New Insight into Role of Vulnerable Plaque in Coronary Artery Disease
Date:9/24/2009

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Abbott (NYSE: ABT) today announced primary results from its groundbreaking PROSPECT (Providing Regional Observations to Study Predictors of Events in the Coronary Tree) clinical trial. PROSPECT is the first prospective natural history study to evaluate the role of vulnerable plaque in unexpected heart attacks and the natural progression of coronary artery disease. Results were presented today during the late-breaking clinical trials session by Gregg W. Stone, M.D., professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, during the 2009 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) annual meeting.

"We know that certain vulnerable plaques lead to sudden cardiac death, but until now, our understanding of how these plaques progress has been extremely limited," said Dr. Stone, who is also immediate past chairman of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, New York, and principal investigator of the PROSPECT study. "PROSPECT has provided fundamental insights into our understanding of atherosclerosis. Conventional wisdom has been that if we could identify vulnerable plaques, we would be able to determine who might be at risk for a serious cardiac event and treat them prophylactically."

Vulnerable plaques are inflamed, lipid-rich lesions that form in the walls of the arteries and usually have thin, fibrous caps. The relationship between vulnerable plaque ruptures and sudden cardiac death is well known, but until the PROSPECT study, no systematic effort had been made to prospectively understand the event rate associated with progression of vulnerable plaque. Unlike hardened plaque, vulnerable plaques are often not visible with angiography and do not actually block blood flo
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